Adoring Jesus and Venerating Mary through the Intercession of Saint Andrew: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 (The Centenary of Fatima)

J.M.J. "The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena" starts today on the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle.

Recite this prayer 15 times a day from November 30th, the Feast of Saint Andrew, until Christmas Day.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment

In which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight,
in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires, 

[here mention your request]

through the Merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

 Imprimatur: +Michael Augustine 
Archbishop of New York
February 6, 1897.

Our Lady and December: First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2016 (The Centenary of Fatima)

J.M.J. Advent, as is well known, has a special Marian character. The long-awaited Coming of the Messiah occurred through the Holy Spirit-inspired fiat of the Virgin of Nazareth.

In addition to Advent itself, the days of December are marked with many references to Our Lady. Here are only a few.

December 4th=The Memorial of Saint John Damascene, who defended the title Theotokos relative to Mary.

December 7th=The Memorial of Saint Ambrose, who proclaimed the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

December 8th=The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, who is Mary herself (“I am the Immaculate Conception”) as she explained to Saint Marie Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in 1858.

December 9th=The Memorial of Saint Juan Diego, who saw Mary and heeded her words on the Hill of Tepeyac in 1531.

December 10th=The local Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto, who is venerated in Italy and is remembered throughout the world for the Holy House and the Litany of the same name.

December 12th=The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who influenced millions of Aztecs to drop their old ways and put on Christ.

The Mother of Mercy: Saturday, November 26, 2016 (The Centenary of Fatima)


Mater Misericordiae

Popes and Bishops often end their pastoral letters with a reference to Our Lady as our Spiritual Mother.

The Ever-Virgin is Mater Misericordiae—the Mother of Mercy.

Simply put, Mary brought forth Christ Who is mercy to our human race.

And we acknowledge Our Lady as the Mother of Mercy who spares no effort in being the conduit through which Christ’s precious mercy comes to our Church and our world.

The late Dominican theologian Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange identified four invocations from the Litany of Loreto that bespeak specifically of Our Lady’s role as the Mother of Mercy: Health of the sick; Refuge of sinners; Comforter of the afflicted; Help of Christians.

The realities represented by these titles, which are by no means exhaustive, help us to understand to whom Mary dispenses the priceless mercy of God.

We continue to be aware of His abundant mercy that He willingly grants to us and of our subsequent obligation and privilege to share that same mercy with our neighbors. The moto chosen by Pope Francis for the recently concluded Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, “Be merciful as the Father is merciful” (Saint Luke 6:36), will never grow stale; it will always challenge us.

Servant of the Father, Servant of the Mother: Friday, November 25, 2016

J.M.J. "In order to be a devoted servant of the Father, I faithfully desire to be the servant of the Mother." 

Saint Ildephonsus (circa 607-667)

"In Her in Whom He Fashioned Himself": Thursday, November 24, 2016

J.M.J. "Praise the Lord and His holy ones, says the Scriptures. If our Lord is to be praised in those holy ones through whom He brings to being deeds of power and miracles, how much more is He to be praised in her in whom He fashioned Himself; it was wonderful beyond all wonders." 

--Saint Aelred (circa 1109-circa 1167)

Our Lady's Priests and Their Dress: Wednesday, November 23, 2016

J.M.J. With gratitude to Miss Vicky Leong of Macau

"What does the 'White Collar' inspire in you?"

by Vicky Leong

During the 60’s and the 70’s, Macau suffered from economic recession. With the absence of compulsory education and free education, high school education was not something people could take for granted. Thus, one of the dreams of parents was that their children could finish high school, got a “white collar” job and secured a comfortable life. Better still, they could stand out from the crowd and become famous. Indeed, it was popular among the Chinese community that the “white collar” implied knowledge, noble sentiments and noble characters. The simple white shirt and its collar was a dream of many parents and young people in the good old days. Today, the comfort living of the “white collar” was considered as the minimum living standard by many young people. Yet, the noble sentiments beyond the white collar were not well attended.

O Clarim has recently reprinted an article by Father Gerald E. Murray and Monsignor Charles Mangan, “23 Reasons Why a Priest Should Wear His Collar”.  As I reflected on the article, I wondered why though the priest’s “white collar” implied a higher demand on knowledge, noble sentiments and noble characters, few responded to the vocation of the priesthood in this City of the Holy Name of God.

The two “white collars”, though same in color, yet very different in their meaning, lifestyle and value. The center of the secular “white collar” is people. People focus their lives on people, follow the footsteps of people, and pledge loyalty to people. People work like workaholic and make themselves burnout for people. If they quest for better fame and wealth, wish to be outstanding and stand out from the crowd, or become leaders in the society, they may even have to sacrifice personal value and family life in order to climb up the social ladder. In contrast, the priest’s “white collar” is a reminder of a quest for a better use of their knowledge, noble sentiments and noble characters to be in service of God and become servant leaders. They focus on God, listen to God, pledge loyalty to God, and devote their lives and work to God. They live their lives in simplicity; witness publicly their special belonging to God. They live their vocation through services by touching the lives of people and making the invisible God visible. They render their services in the Church with the ultimate goal to serve God and glorify God.

Father Murray and Monsignor Mangan emphasize at the very beginning of their writing a very beautiful metaphor. The priest’s collar is a sign of priestly consecration to the Lord. The “white collar” is a wedding ring, symbolizes the priest’s union with God. Similar to a married man’s public expression of fidelity to his wife, so do the priests witness their faithfulness and fidelity through the priest’s “white collar”.  

The priest’s “white collar” does not only remind the priests of their fidelity to God, it also reminds the faithful to be respectful to the priests and their ministries, and that the priests entirely belong to God in a very special way. God is the priority and the core of the priests’ lives. Through their ministries and prayers, they serve God in good time and in bad time, in health and in sickness. The “white collar” also serves as a safeguard and protection of the priests’ mission especially when they serve in places with controversial issues. It also makes the priests’ identity available for people in need of spiritual guidance and/or for sacraments especially in crisis situations.

The priest’s “white collar” is a reminder of material poverty for religious life. The simple attire reminds the religious their consistency in lifestyles and standards of living. During the hot and humid summer, the collar and the simple attire also serves as a means of self-sacrifice, as well as sacrifice for obtaining graces for their parishioners.

Though the protagonist of the article focuses on the religious, there is so much treasure in this article we Christians can reflect on and make them part of our lives. For example, we are reminded that God is the center of our lives, and that we should live a good moral Christian life with God’s blessings. The Latin word for value is “virtus”, meaning the source of strength. It is indeed so true that a healthy and moral life is the standard of our Christian living. This moral value and standard is also our source of strength as we go against the trend in the secular world.

Living in a secular world of sensual pleasure, what does the “white collar” inspire us Christians? It reminds me of my fidelity to God. It also reminds me to be consistent in my moral standards and lifestyles as a Christian living in the secular world. As a follower of Christ, I need to be a witness of Christ’s love and live my life lovingly to touch the lives of others and kindle light in the world.

For you, what does the white collar inspire in you?

2016/9/17 下午6:50 於 "Vicky Leong"